The Pros and Cons of Tungsten Carbide Rings

Tungsten Carbide Rings

Courtesy of Little Sky Stone 

When you think of wedding bands, gold or platinum likely comes to mind. However, an increasingly popular material on the market is neither of these and happens to be far more affordable than both. If you're on the hunt for something that's bold and unique, Tungsten Carbide might be the ideal ring option for you.

What Is Tungsten Carbide?

Tungsten Carbide is the result of combining or alloying carbon with Tungsten, hard and dense metal with a high melting point. Tungsten Carbide occasions a deep gray color in its untreated, natural state but can be polished, sandblasted, or carved to give it a wide range of finishing aesthetics.

“The best quality Tungsten Carbide rings include at least 80% Tungsten,” says Blue Nile senior merchandiser Roxanna Rector. “This combination makes rings that are strong, hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and that will maintain their polish for a lifetime.”

Meet the Expert

Roxanna Rector is a senior merchandiser for Blue Nile and is based in Seattle.

Tungsten Carbide Rings
Michela Buttignol/Brides 

History of Tungsten Carbide Rings

Tungsten can be traced back to the 1700s. “It was first extracted from ore, discovering the element with the highest melting point of all metals,” Rector explains. Fast forward to the 1800s and Tungsten Carbide is synthesized for the first time and “used for industrial purposes for its extreme durability, such as cutting tools in the 1900s and modern-day precise surgical instruments.”

What to Look for in a Tungsten Carbide Ring

As previously noted, if you’re buying a Tungsten Carbide ring it’s important to find one that’s at least 80% Tungsten. “At this purity, it is 10x harder than 18k gold and has a weight that’s substantial and luxurious, similar to platinum,“ Rector says. Sometimes sellers will use an expensive filler in place of Tungsten, causing the value and integrity of the ring to diminish.

Another important factor to consider is size. Because Tungsten Carbide rings are incredibly hard, they cannot be sized. “Consider buying your regular size as well as a half size up and keep the one that fits the best,” she notes. “If you buy a ring 6mm or wider, you may need a slightly larger size than what a ring sizer will tell you due to how much of your finger the ring will cover.”

Pros of a Tungsten Carbide Ring

Tungsten Carbide rings have a lot going for them. Rector notes that they check off all of the boxes below:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Tarnish resistant
  • Will remain polished virtually forever
  • High scratch-resistance
  • High wear-resistance
  • Increased hardness and durability
  • Available in a wide variety of styles and colors for multiple aesthetics

Additionally, Tungsten Carbide rings tend to be far more affordable than their gold and platinum counterparts. Plus, it essentially never loses its polish, which makes wearing it forever far more effortless.

Cons of a Tungsten Carbide Ring

Of course, there are some shortcomings that coincide with purchasing a Tungsten Carbide ring. For starters, there’s a chance that your supplier may be offering a ring with a purity level that is lower than 80%. Second, “because of its natural hardness properties, the ring is susceptible to cracking if dropped on a hard surface like cement or marble,” Rector notes. And as previously mentioned, because Tungsten isn’t malleable like gold, it can’t be resized. It’s also worth noting that these rings are typically heavy, which can be a plus or minus depending on your preference (Rector adds that they are a comparable weight to platinum).

How to Care for a Tungsten Carbide Ring

Because Tungsten Carbide rings are so durable, they require little to no maintenance. “The most important way to care for Tungsten rings is to ensure you don’t drop them on hard surfaces such as marble or cement, as they can crack and be difficult to repair,” Rector says.

Ahead, scroll through 10 sleek and modern Tungsten Carbide wedding rings.

01 of 10

Classic Gray Tungsten Carbide Wedding Band

Blue Nile Classic Gray Tungsten Carbide Wedding Band

Courtesy of Blue Nile 

A sleek, industrial option for the modern bridal aesthetic.

SHOP NOW: Blue Nile, $195

02 of 10

Honor Tungsten Beveled Polished Ring

Thorsten Honor Tungsten Beveled Polished Ring

Courtesy of Thorsten Rings 

The gold brushed finish on this 1.6mm ring gives it an elevated finish.

SHOP NOW: Thorsten Rings, $230

03 of 10

Artemisia Rounded White Tungsten Wedding Band

Little King Jewelry Artemisia Rounded White Tungsten Wedding Band

Courtesy of Little King Jewelry

Add a subtle sparkle to your Tungsten Carbide ring with this option featuring three simple diamonds.

SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $460

04 of 10

Triton Tungsten Wedding Band

Triton Tungsten Wedding Band

Courtesy of Zales 

As the adage goes, sometimes less is more.

SHOP NOW: Zales, $125

05 of 10

Gold Brushed Tungsten Carbide Ring

Little Sky Stone Gold Brushed Tungsten Carbide Ring

Courtesy of Little Sky Stone 

The brushed fine gold on this Tungsten Carbide ring reads well-designed.

SHOP NOW: Little Sky Stone, $79

06 of 10

MIDA Tungsten Brushed Wedding Band

MIDA Tungsten Brushed Wedding Band

Courtesy of Gaboni Jewelers

There’s something oh-so-cool about a black band, no?

SHOP NOW: Gaboni Jewelers, $89

07 of 10

Sol Traditional Domed Rose Gold Plated Tungsten Wedding Band

Sol Traditional Domed Rose Gold Plated Tungsten Wedding Band

Courtesy of Little King Jewelry  

Because rose gold is always a good idea.

SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $200

08 of 10

Lovemark Black Ion-Plated Tungsten Carbide Men's Wedding Band

Lovemark Black Ion-Plated Tungsten Carbide Men's Wedding Band

Courtesy of Kohl's 

This bold noir ring offers a satin and polished finish.

SHOP NOW: Kohl's, $240

09 of 10

Gray Wedding Band

Blue Nile Gray Wedding Band

Courtesy of Blue Nile 

If shiny metals aren’t your bag, this gray-hued Tungsten ring may fit the bill.

SHOP NOW: Blue Nile, $195

10 of 10

Samara Tungsten Wedding Band with Ash Wood Inlay

Samara Tungsten Wedding Band with Ash Wood Inlay

Courtesy of Little King Jewelry 

A light wood inlay for a non-traditional option.

SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $250

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